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Oscar ceremonies: the first half-hour

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 2, 2014

Ellen DeGeneres went with an old-school monologue, which was mostly uneven: bad June Squibb joke, good Barkhad Abdi gag, lots of empty air -- and then a strong punch to the whiteness of Hollywood at the end.

Jared Leto wins for best supporting actor, which as you know was my choice (and just about everyone else's). Excellent, touching speech about his mother, dreams, and more. (And James Poniewozik noted the nods to the Ukraine and LGBT probably got the Oscars blacked out in Russia.)

Jim Carrey was on fire, rage laced with comedy.

And Pharrell, with a hat back, did a nice rendition of "Happy." So this early in the telecast, I am somewhat content -- as long as I don't think about how much time remains. 

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